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Plateau Region: Weekend Trip Sample

A two-day trip along the Blue Ridge Plateau from Roanoke (Milepost 120) to the Virginia state line (Milepost 216) is highlighted by intensive exposure to the Blue Ridge cultural landscape. The rural experience on the Parkway and on adjacent lands highlights mills, music, and agriculture, demonstrating how people have interacted with the landscape over time. The opportunity to camp or stay overnight in two iconic Blue Ridge towns will make this a memorable visit.

Day One

Morning

Leave Roanoke early in the morning and drive the four mile loop around Roanoke Mountain (Milepost 120.4) for some great views of the region and a stroll along the Summit Trail (.1 mile) before heading south. Climbing up onto the flat plateau of the Blue Ridge, pull into overlooks at Cahas Knob (Milepost 139) or Devil’s Backbone (Milepost 143.9) where you can look off of the steep escarpment and across the east to the piedmont.

Mid-Late Afternoon

There are many options for picnicking in the Plateau District, including Rocky Knob (Milepost 169). In the area, take the opportunity to hike along the ridge tops with options that include the Picnic Area Loop Trail (Milepost 169, 1.0 miles) or the Black Ridge Trail (Milepost 169, 3.1 miles).

Late Afternoon - Early Evening

After exploring Rocky Knob by foot or in your car, head into Floyd, VA (from VA Rt 8 at Milepost 165, six miles to Floyd) for crafts, shopping, restaurants, and lodging in one of the most eclectic small towns anywhere in the Blue Ridge.

Day Two

Morning

Arrive at Mabry Mill (Milepost 176) for buckwheat cakes at the restaurant and a leisurely stroll through Ed Mabry’s mill and blacksmith shop. Demonstrations of Appalachian and Blue Ridge crafts are often highlighted here.

Mid-Late Afternoon

Heading south, there are a number of attractions worthy of a short stop. Round Meadow Overlook (Milepost 178) offers a nice short hike (.5 miles) to Round Meadow creek. At Groundhog Mountain Picnic Area (Milepost 188.8) there is a display of the many kinds of wood fences that you may have admired along the Parkway. Just a mile further down the road at Puckett Cabin (Milepost 189.9), the story of the mountain midwife who delivered 1,000 babies in the region.

Late Afternoon - Early Evening

Arriving at the Blue Ridge Music Center (Milepost 213) you can perhaps catch Mountain Midday Music or an outdoor concert (fees may apply) featuring the best bluegrass, old time, and gospel music in the region. At the visitor center, “The Roots of American Music” exhibition provides a thorough historical introduction to the music that is so much a part of the regional experience. The High Meadow Trail (1.35 miles) behind the visitor center takes you through hayfields, wetlands, and an abundance of wildflowers and birds.

Galax, Virginia is ten miles away with lodging, restaurants and its extraordinary collection of bluegrass and old time music traditions providing a memorable evening. Mount Airy and Sparta, North Carolina are also within an hour’s drive.

Highlights & Happenings

  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Watch an orientation video and learn how to make the most of your visit to the Parkway and region at this visitor center. View exhibits featuring the unique Parkway design and construction, the natural and cultural history, and recreational opportuni
  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, picnic area, campground, lodge, restaurant, and country store make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • The Brinegar Cabin, craft demonstrations, and diverse hiking options and make Doughton Park a must-experience destination along the Parkway.
  • Rocky Knob & Mabry Mill, MP 169, 176.2
  • These Parkway treasures offer many opportunities for visitors including hiking, camping, picnicking, and one of the most-photographed structures along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Craggy Gardens, MP 364
  • For generations, visitors have headed for the Craggies in June, typically the prime time for viewing the pink and purple blooms of Catawba rhododendrons that blanket much of the area.
  • Blue Ridge Music Center
  • The Blue Ridge Music Center is a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of Virginia and the Blue Ridge.
  • Humpback Rocks, MP 5.8
  • At the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is perhaps the best representation of the varied combination of natural and cultural resources anywhere along the Parkway corridor. Visitors can tour a collection of nineteenth century far
  • Parkway Road Conditions
  • An open Parkway is a safe Parkway. Be sure to check road conditions online or by phone before you travel and during your visit.
  • Explore by Region
  • With 469 miles of scenic beauty, the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through parts of Virginia and Western North Carolina to the Smokies in Tennessee.
  • Attractions, Dining & More
  • From fine arts to fun, experience the best places and activities to enhance your visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway region.
  • Blooms & Wildlife Watching
  • Don't forget your cameras and binoculars when visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway! Learn when and where to see blooms along your journey.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
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